Our Impact


Extended Learning Outdoors (ELO)

The ELO program creates an opportunity for virtual and real worlds to create a learning environment for children. We use technology and sensory equipment to connect support STEM education outdoors.

Paint4Play

P4P provides an opportunity for kids, their school community, and their neighborhood to gather, socialize, plan, and design an art project for an asphalt schoolyard. The reclaiming of these neglected barren spaces is a healing process that culminates in a day-long celebration of food, music and painting. This collective work of art endures as a symbol of future unity, progress and wholeness.  Two schools, Tanner G. Duckrey and George W. Nebinger have participated and funds are currently being raised to continue the program.

Philly Schoolyards Exchange Program

The Philly Schoolyards Exchange Program brings graduate students studying landscape architecture to Philadelphia for an immersive experience where they spend time with students, families and schools to reimagine their schoolyard. The graduate students participate in a week long program where they will work with a local public school in Philadelphia to create a site and redevelopment schoolyard plan. Twenty-one schools in north, south and west Philadelphia have received master concept plans that include cost estimates, phasing and design development drawings. University of Colorado and Iowa State University have participated and we hope to grow the effort to other institutions.

Dig Philly

Dig Philly partners with local public schools, community leaders, parents, students and families to create opportunities for communities to voice their ideas and maintain long-term relationships that allow community members to manage green spaces in their neighborhoods. If this project is successful, Philadelphia will be the first city to transform schoolyards with green infrastructure into multi-use facilities that serve and educate the community and protect the environment.

Other Schoolyard Redevelopment Efforts

During the past three years TBS has worked with individual schools as they begin to reimagine and build their schoolyard.  With a grant from the Penn Treaty Special Services District Haratio B. Hackett’s gateway was constructed.  At McKinley school two creative place making grants from LISC resulted in community driven schematic plans and entry banners.  At Duckrey, TBS created and currently spearheads their community engagement model.

Garden Place Academy


On Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, John Prosser, Garden Place Academy Advocate and urban planner, died. Friends, family and community activists will miss his wisdom and energy immensely. John’s dedication and passion was a driving force for the vision of Garden Place Academy as a model for excellence in the city. Honor John’s legacy with a donation to Garden Place Academy Advocates.

Honor John Prosser and Donate to GPAA

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Globeville, located in Denver’s former industrial crescent, is a diverse and vibrant community.

Denver Public School’s Garden Place Academy, is a focal point of Globeville life and education.  Improving the school’s interior, Learning Landscape schoolyard and after school and community programs with an emphasis on modernization, sustainability and preservation will position Garden Place Academy as a model of excellence for Denver schools.  The Big SandBox is pleased to provide backbone support for the Garden Place Academy Advocates (GPAA) to support the school and the Globeville community.  

As part of the TBS Schoolyard Exchange, a schoolyard redevelopment plan was created for Garden Place Academy as part of a landscape architecture studio at the University of Colorado.  A GPA campus plan was created.

PHASE ONE – Re imagining Community & Education – Phase One: October 2015 – December 2017
  • Community Nutrition Center & Programming will expand the current Learning Garden with a community garden and programs.  
  • Outdoor Classroom & Education Elements will use innovative technology connecting real and virtual worlds to enhance environmental stewardship, ecological awareness and maintenance.     
  • Ensuring a Pathway to the Future is administrative and community support and pre evaluation and assessment to monitor progress.
  • Street Improvements include street trees, perimeter fencing and relocating the trash bins away from the building front entry and providing a complete streets approach to storm water adjacent to the building. 
Funding Strategy – 

Established in May of 2015, this 3-year collaborative of school, community, professional and private supporters seeks funding for immediate and long term capital improvements.  The Garden Place Academy Advocates, have developed a comprehensive financing strategy for phase one that creates a mechanism for entrepreneurial public-private financing.  This approach seeks both in-kind and cash contributions.

What we have –

For Phase One we need $546,500.  We still need to raise $50,000.   We need your support to make Garden Place Academy a model for “smart” schools and resilient communities. GPAA Funding Update

Yes! I want to give my support to Garden Place Academy Advocates

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Sustaining a Resilient Community – Phase Two:  January 18 – December 2018

Phase Two will focus on larger infrastructure improvements to the school campus such as a pick up/drop off zone for parents.   The redevelopment of the adjacent abandoned church as a school/community resource will be the final phase of our efforts.

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Special thanks to all our Funders to date!!!!

INDIVIDUALS  Liz Adams, Paul Andrews, Celina Benavidez, Maria Garcia Berry, Kendra Black, Barbara Blumenthal, Councilman Albus Brooks, Ellie Caulkins, Dana Crawford, Barbara Frommell, Cecelia Garcia, Pat Grant, Micheleane Green, Gretchen Hoorah. AM Kenney, Tom Klein, HE Morgan, Donna McEncroe, Rudolfo Payan, Ramon Payan, Armando Payan, Sabria Payan, John Prosser, Ean Thomas Tayoya ,Billy Wang, Ronald Williams, Mickey Zepplin,

BUSINESSES, ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES Buell Foundation, Cherry Creek Foundation,  CRL, Denver Office of Economic Development, Dylan Consulting Company, Exdo Development, Fox Station, Hensel Phelps,  Gates Family Foundation,  JJJ properties. LLC,  Jake’s Bar, Iron and Metals Inc, Kiewit Infrastructure,  Smart Deal for Denver, Sophium Development , Trammel Crow, Westfield Woodspear, USDA, and Zakhem Real Estate Group.

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